aside Injured Victims From August 2017 Charlottesville White Nationalists’ Rally Have Filed Suit

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The victims of the Unite the Right rally during mid-August 2017 in Charlottesville, VA where violence ensued by White Supremacist hate groups. While the republican President Donald Trump attempted to paint a picture of moral equivalency between White nationalists’ hate groups and those who oppose them, it was the White supremacists who caused three fatalities and other serious injuries. There are at least a couple of lawsuits which have been filed by the victims against the hate groups and their leaders.

Here are the details about one of the lawsuits… 

On October 12, 2017, Joe Heim and Ann E. Marimow of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Charlottesville lawsuit seeks restrictions on white nationalist groups.”

Excerpts:

“Eleven residents injured in August during violence that sprang from a planned rally by white nationalists in Charlottesville are suing the supremacists, asking for monetary damages and a ban on similar gatherings.”

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“The lawsuit, filed Thursday (10/12/17) morning in federal court in Charlottesville, cites laws enacted during Reconstruction to counter intimidation of blacks in the South and more recent cases targeting antiabortion activists.”

“The complaint accuses Unite the Right rally leaders and organizers — including white nationalists Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler and Matthew Heimbach — of violating state and federal civil rights laws by creating a menacing environment and inciting violence against people based on their race, religion and ethnicity.”

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share via REUTERS
Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share Reuters

“The Ku Klux Klan, Vanguard America, the Nationalist Front and the League of the South, all of which support white nationalist or supremacist aims and took part in the rally, are among the three dozen individuals and organizations named in the 113-page complaint.”

“The violence in Charlottesville was no accident,” the lawsuit reads. “In countless posts on their own websites and social media, defendants and their co-conspirators promised that there would be violence in Charlottesville and violence there was.”

Virginia State Troopers stand under a statue of Robert E. Lee before a white nationalist rally. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
 “The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include University of Virginia students, Charlottesville residents and religious leaders who say they were subject to tear gas, physical and verbal assaults and, in one case, were targeted online by white supremacists who posted their photo on a racist website.”

“Charlottesville exploded into the nation’s consciousness Aug. 11 and 12 when hundreds of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis from across the country converged on the small university town to protest the planned removal of a Confederate statue from a city park.”

White nationalists march in Charlottesville. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“At a nighttime torchlight rally, marchers chanted “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and soil!” before engaging in a violent confrontation with a small group of counter-protesters. The next day — a Saturday — the planned rally was canceled by law enforcement as nationalists and counter-protesters brawled on Charlottesville’s downtown streets while police stood back. In mid-afternoon, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer, allegedly drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians. Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville was killed, and 19 others were injured.”

The case is being brought by a powerhouse legal team: New York attorney Roberta A. Kaplan, who represented Edith Windsor in the landmark Supreme Court case that ordered the federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and Washington attorney Karen Dunn, a former federal prosecutor.”

A white nationalist speaks to the media during a rally. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
“The lawsuit is funded by a new nonprofit, Integrity First for America, that is aimed primarily at bringing legal challenges to President Trump’s businesses. On its website, it says Integrity First “intervenes when political leaders profit off their positions of power or abandon our country’s commitment to civil rights and equal justice for all.”

“Plaintiffs Marissa Blair, 28, and her fiance, Marcus Martin, 27, were standing among counter-protesters on Fourth Street in Charlottesville when Fields allegedly drove his Dodge Challenger into the crowd. Martin pushed Blair out of the way, but he was struck and his leg and ankle were broken.”

White nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“I went to look for him, and all I found was his bloody baseball cap. I thought he was dead,” Blair said in an interview Wednesday. “We weren’t doing anything wrong. We were trying to stay away from the front lines.”

“Freedom of speech, we get it,” Blair said. “But not when you’re doing it to terrorize people. There has to be a stop to it. We want to let Charlottesville live in peace.”

“Another plaintiff, Hannah Pearce, is a dermatologist who lives in Charlottesville with her husband and four children, all of whom are members of Congregation Beth Israel, a Jewish faith community. After the rally, a photo of Pearce and her son were posted online by the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website operated by Andrew Anglin.”

White nationalists clash with a group of counter-protesters. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“Because of her faith, Pearce was “threatened, harassed, intimidated and physically assaulted” as she “peacefully protested” the event with her son, according to the filing. The Daily Stormer and Anglin are listed as defendants in the suit.”

“The Charlottesville complaint was inspired in part by an Oregon case from the late 1990s in which a group of doctors successfully sued antiabortion activists over a website that targeted doctors who perform abortions. The website did not explicitly threaten violence against the doctors, but listed their names, photos, addresses and license plate numbers.”

Counter demonstrators attack a white supremacist. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“The lawsuit came at a time when several people working at abortion clinics around the country were killed.”

“A federal jury ordered the creators of the site to pay more than $100 million to Planned Parenthood and the doctors, an amount reduced on appeal.”

“The complaint in the Charlottesville case also draws on a federal law from the Reconstruction Era that helped go after the Ku Klux Klan.”

“This is creative litigation aimed at getting at a deeply pernicious problem,” said Vanita Gupta, the former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division.”

A man is seen with an injury during a clash between members of white nationalist protesters against a group of counter-protesters. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“The Supreme Court has set a high bar when it comes to restricting free speech in the name of preventing violence. The court has allowed inflammatory speech as long as it doesn’t provoke the “imminent” use of force ever since a 1969 case involving the Ku Klux Klan.”

“You can say the most horrible things and cause serious emotional distress, and as outrageous and offensive as it is, the First Amendment will protect you,” said John Culhane, who teaches constitutional law at Widener University Delaware Law School.”

First responders stand by a car that was struck when a car drove through a group of counter protesters at the "Unite the Right" rally. REUTERS/Justin Ide
REUTERS/Justin Ide

“That protection ends, though, if you provoke an “imminent” act of violence, he said. And even though it’s often a tough case to make, Culhane said counter-protesters in Charlottesville were physically attacked and “the action we feared would happen did happen. That’s pretty powerful.”

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9 comments

  1. I am glad to see this lawsuit filed, and I hope they win their case, though I realize it will be a difficult one. These groups and their leaders, such as Spencer, need to be held accountable for their actions. Thank you for this information, my friend, for I had not seen this. Hugs!!!

    • Dear Jill,

      Like you, I hope this lawsuit is successful.

      If one views the websites of these hate groups, it is obvious that violence and confrontations were a part of their plans. They had wanted to create the picture that they were the victims. This is the problem. They want the confrontation. One of there favorite memes is a vehicle being driven into a crowd.

      In short, these hate groups are not holding rallies pushing acting in a peaceful manner but just the opposite.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • Quite so, and yet here’s what I find beyond irritating: Trump praises the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, or at least refuses to condemn them, but he vilifies the NFL players for peaceful, non violent protests. I do hope the people of Charlottesville win this lawsuit, for it would send a very good message, set an important precedent.
        Hugs!!!

    • Dear Suzanne,

      A success with this law suit would force these hate groups to be less combative and confrontational with the intent to instill fear.

      Thanks a million times over for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

  2. Gronda, maybe this will draw needed attention to the matter. Civil protest is OK even from the vilest of protesters, but civil protesting against their bike message is also OK. It does put pressure on police, but I believe to get permits to protest, weapons of any sort must be checked and held to afterwards. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I couldn’t agree more. There is no good reason for peaceful protesters to carry anything that could be used as a weapon. Ii groups can’t agree to this rule, then frankly, one must suspect their motives.

      Hugs, Gronda

  3. I’m glad to see that the law is being used against these folk.
    At this risk of another apocalyptic warning. The next time they organise another march it is not beyond of probably that there will be someone somewhere with weapons aimed at them.
    And then the whole cycle starts.
    That is the one advantage of having an Unwritten Constitution, when The Government gets a feeling enough is enough, in goes the law and now wriggle room.

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